A good bloomer loaf is a wonderful thing. I’ve shared the recipe for mine below and here’s a tale about how you can have fun making bread with friends and raise money too!
Of course I realise that some of you will just want to skip to the recipe, but you’ll miss out on a great tale if you do 😉 But just in case…
Thanks for sticking with it, so here’s my tale…
We’ve got a great bunch of friends, we are a real mixed bag, but we have such a laugh together. Throughout the year there is always something going on, a BBQ here, a dinner party there, even a trip on the Severn Valley Railway – you get the gist!
Well a few years ago now, we decided that it would be a good idea to raise a bit of money for charity whilst we were all having a good time. A post recently came up on my Facebook timeline which reminded me how important it is to have a good bunch of people around you and how important it is to always think of others.
The post was from September 2015, which was the year we were raising money for Katies Angels, a fundraising group for Lupus UK. We chose this charity because a friend very sadly lost her sister to this awful illness – Lupus.
There were lots of events throughout that year, but my husband and I decided we’d put on a bread making and BBQ day. What a fab day it was too! There were well over 20 of us making bread (we’ve got a mahoosive kitchen).
We provided all of the ingredients, ovens, equipment, food to keep us all going, beer etc. Our friends then donated as much or as little money as they wanted to and got to learn how to make bread. Everyone got to take home two recipes and a bread scraper.
I can’t tell you what fun it was, but goodness I was absolutely worn out at the end of it. Everyone got to make (and eat) their own bloomer loaf, a few also made some focaccia. Most importantly, every single penny we managed to raise (and there was quite a bit) went to our friends charity.
Most of our friends who came to the day have continued to make the odd loaf, which is fantastic. So I thought I’d share my recipe for a Bloom(er)ing marvellous loaf with you all too. Have a go yourself, or make it with a group of friends – perhaps even raise some money for charity whilst you are at it. Either way it tastes great and certainly brings back really brilliant memories for me whenever I make it.
I’m sure my friends won’t mind me sharing some pics from the day (especially as I made all the men wear a pretty pinny)!
The bloomer loaf below is easy to make and really tasty. Whilst the recipe below uses all white flour, you can mix it up with other strong flours or add seeds. You can even substitute some of the liquid and add beer or milk.
Personally I like the plain version though as it makes a great sandwich bread.
For other recipes on my site please follow this link.
A Bloom(er)ing Marvellous Loaf
The dough can also be used to make rolls
- 500g of strong white bread flour
- 5 – 7g of instant fast action yeast (10 – 14g if using fresh)
- 10g of fine sea salt
- 300ml of slightly warm water
- Optional 1Tbsp of oil
- Place the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl. Mix it around. Gradually add the water until there is no dry flour left. At this point you can add the oil if using. Tip out onto a work surface (don’t add any more flour) and knead for around 10 minutes until you’ve got a really elastic dough. Don’t worry if it’s sticky at first, this is normal. If it’s too sticky you can pause kneading and scrape your hands down with a dough scraper and start again. Of course you could use a stand mixer (on speed 4) if you have one, but this is one dough I really like to knead by hand.
- At the end of the kneading shape the dough into a tight ball and place in a slightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size. This usually takes about an hour in my kitchen.
- Once risen, tip the dough onto a very lightly floured work surface and knock back by pressing down into a flat disc – this removes all of the air. At this point you could put the dough back in the bowl and leave for another hour and repeat (this can give the final bread a better flavour and you could do this up to 4 times if you wanted to). Form the dough into a ball again, cover and leave to rest for 10 mins (this makes the dough easier to shape). Switch your oven onto 220 (200 fan) and place a flat baking sheet on the middle shelf to warm. Also pop an empty roasting pan right at the bottom.
- After the 10 minutes rest is over knock back again. Now it’s time to shape the dough, please don’t be put off by the instructions here, it really is worth the effort and I’m sure there are loads of videos out there on the web which will show you better than I’m about to explain it! Flatten the dough into a rough rectangle (fold in sides if necessary). Keeping the shortest edge of the dough nearest to you, start at the end furthest away from you and roll very tightly in one direction into a sausage shape, tucking the ends in as you go. Flatten the sausage back out and fold into thirds (short side to short side). Flatten out into a rectangle and repeat with the rolling. Make sure the seam is underneath at the end and really well tucked in. Cover and leave to rest for 10 mins (or longer until when you press on the dough it springs back and leaves no mark).
- Boil the kettle, when it’s boiled and the loaf is rested enough, transfer the loaf to the hot baking tray and slash the top a few times. Make sure you use a really sharp knife and make quick cuts, otherwise the knife will drag and you’ll deflate that lovely dough! 6.Quickly pop the tray back into the hot the oven and pour about a mug full of the boiling water into the roasting tin at the bottom. Shut the oven door as quickly as you can and DO NOT OPEN for at least 10 minutes. If you’ve got an oven door with glass, enjoy a cuppa whilst peering through and watching the magic of the bloom! After 10 minutes check the colour of your bread, if it’s browning too quickly, turn the oven down to 200 (180 fan), otherwise leave at the higher temperature. Bake for a further 40 – 50 minutes. You’ll know when it’s done as the bottom will sound hollow when tapped and you’ll have a lovely crispy crust. Leave to cool on a wire rack if you can!